Category Archives: personification

The War of the Roaches

illustration war of the roaches

The War of the Roaches

It began on May 30th.  The Aggressor made a completely unprovoked attack using a 16‑oz. spray bottle of Professional Strength Roach Killer, which took many of the Roaches by surprise and weakened their forces considerably.  However, some survived and began planning their strategy.

The next move on the part of the Aggressor  was the purchase of roach motels late Monday night (June 1st).  These were strategically placed at many crucial roach strongholds.

The roaches decided it was time for outside aid. Roaches from neighboring apartments were duly contacted and a force of millipede mercenaries was also engaged.  The battle escalated the next day with the attacker’s purchase of boric acid  This was sprinkled carefully over many major transportation routes, forcing the development of alternate modes of roach army movement.

Feeling even more intense weaponry was needed, the Aggressor purchased (on the morning of June 3rd), additional roach motels.  The insect army was getting decimated quite rapidly, and the Aggressor noticed it was composed mainly of adolescent roaches.

Just when it seemed the tide was turning in favor of the Aggressor, reinforcement battalions from the apartment building next door arrived. These were adults, hardy and strong.  It was time for the ultimate weapon. It had been threatened many times before in hopes of negotiating a peaceful settlement.

Oscar Wildecat, Secretary of Defense for the Aggressor, had pleaded with many roaches individually to give up the fight and order a cease‑crawl, but to no avail. The roaches had been known to be fanatical in their beliefs, and it was proven time and time again.  With a heavy, saddened heart, the Aggressor purchased insecticide room foggers.

The cans were solemn black with the appropriate warnings lettered in red and white. The Aggressor knew this was a last resort and tried one last time for a victory using conventional weapons. A spoonful of crunchy peanut butter was put on the kitchen counter, and around it was sprinkled a circle of boric acid. If this did not succeed, the buttons would have to be pressed — releasing the familiar mushroom‑shaped clouds of insecticide and bringing with it the awful stench of death and destruction.

The Aggressor retired for the evening and hardly slept a wink. The Secretary of Defense was up all night, trying dutifully up to the last moment to settle the conflict peacefully.  It was to no avail. The fanatical roaches spit in the Secretary’s face, and not one fell for the peanut butter.

The buttons on the Aggressor’s foggers were pressed, and the she fled the apartment. In less than an hour, the last major roach strongholds were obliterated. With tears in her eyes and a handkerchief over her nose and mouth, the Aggressor relentlessly bombarded major cities and small villages. Roadways were destroyed, and innocent civilian moths and ants also fell in the wave of carnage that swept through apartment number Seven.

Although some isolated guerrilla roaches remained, there was no hope for what was once a mighty nation. There was a minor skirmish here and there, but the tide turned, and the Aggressor conquered vast amounts of territory.

Secretary of Defense Oscar Wildecat took a hard line against the pleas of remaining survivors. Some called him cold and merciless, but he had been humiliated many times by individual roaches and perhaps his actions were understandable, even defensible.

Victory was not without cost.  Vigorous sanctions were extended to the Aggressor by the UA (United Arthropods).  Butterflies no longer engaged in free trade with her petunia plants, and bees no longer pollinated her azalea bush.  Only time could heal the psychological scars suffered by both sides in the debilitating and awful conflict.

Valuable lessons were learned by all involved, however.  The Aggressor learned the merits of preventive negotiation.  She no longer left scraps of edible organic material lying about.  That was an unwarranted and needless provocation to the UA, and led to many misunderstandings as to possession of territory.  The UA, in turn, accepted the fact that their only legal place of residence was the great Outdoors ‑‑ and in abiding by established inter‑organism rules and customs, they were able to carry on perfectly normal and unaffected lives.  The Aggressor and the UA learned to coexist peacefully.

We must hope relations between other global entities will not go to such extreme lengths. We must learn not by trial and error, but by bringing our resources together to prevent conflicts before escalation to unmanageable levels.  Hope.  That was, and still is, the key word. If all of us believe in peace strongly enough ‑‑ if we don’t lose hope ‑‑ perhaps one day the world will live in peace.  Just like the Aggressor and the UA!

(Secretary of Defense Wildecat would like to add one word.)

Meow!

 

 

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Giant Redwoods, a poem

illustration muir woods 2

Giant Redwoods

(Statements in italics taken from Ethics, by Baruch de Spinoza)

Look farther and farther toward thin blue sky, until the green feathery tops of the trees are like the northern pole on some dream planet.  Put the anger back in its bottle. These trees are generous.  Hatred can never be good.

Your carsickness from the ride up the mountain begins to fade, leaving behind a breathless, weepy echo not unlike your first religious fervor.  Hatred is increased through return of hatred, but may be destroyed by love.

When have you not been afraid?  The random can be scrutinized for meaning, the puzzle solved, when surveyed long & carefully enough.  Anything may be accidentally the cause of either hope or fear.

These trees have plenty of time.  As a child, you stared at Jesus’ sad face for hours, wishing you could marry him  — wondering what it was that made him love you.  Could you sacrifice yourself for the sins of the world, if it was that simple & necessary? Cathedrals turn us small and vulnerable again, for reasons both blessed & cursed.  Devotion is love towards an object which astonishes us.

Vague, starry eyes like yours feel at home here; the air is weighty, burdensome & solemn. You’ve loved trees before; this is different.  These trees have plenty of time – more time than you.  If we love a thing which is like ourselves, we endeavor as much as possible to make it love us in return.

Your nerves are suddenly frozen, by the unaccustomed richness of perfect light.  Your guide is tall & slender, hesitant to speak.  Her mother has the tattooed forearm of a Polish Jew of a certain age.  The knowledge of good and evil is nothing but an idea of joy or sorrow.  Sorrow is [a hu]man’s passage from a greater to a less perfection.

These trees have plenty of time.  She touches your wrist, and for a moment, you, too, want to grow taller, leaving the surface of the earth behind forever.  Shyly, she picks up a tiny pinecone, smaller than a toy.  You both laugh when she tells you this is their seed.  Joy is [a hu]man’s passage from a less to a greater perfection.

These trees have plenty of time.  And all around, their wise, fallen, hollow bodies litter the ground like the bones of saints.  Childlike, you understand a wish to die here, never to leave this hush.  They’re only trees – your neck bent back as far as it will go; only trees, yet wondering if the giants can hear your thoughts.  Love is joy, with the accompanying idea of an external cause.  Love and desire may be excessive.  When the mind imagines its own weakness, it necessarily sorrows.

Is there anything we have less power over than our own tongues?  These trees have plenty of time, growing wise as the Buddha, in their silence.

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The Evolution of the Orgasm, a poem

illustration the evolution of the orgasm

The Evolution of the Orgasm, a poem

Does the new-twinned cell, as it sorts out
one tangled rat’s nest of nucleus

from the other with its slow patient dance
of cytoplasm and membrane, somehow know

the sweet involuntary contraction and release
of its division?  An organism’s inner tension

promotes as well as restrains
total disintegration.  Is each duplicating

mitochondrion frozen fast in the stream
of its own powerful, mindless barrage

of electrons?  Life on a cellular level
is both straightforward and incomprehensible.

Could any physical laws possibly hold
resolute in the embrace of such rapture?

Was the orgasm the means of our worldly
creation, or the end?  Less can be more,

but not in this case.  Is what makes you
come so easily explained?  As usual, let us

personify:  she is rich-skinned, veiled
cool in a white ruffled nightshirt….

Well-muscled, each movement sure, swift,
with only one purpose.  Her hair is short

or long, pulled tight or draped loose,
but the look in her eyes is a steely

constant, it says, I know you. I have always
known you.  I will know you even after

your tired flesh has flown away singing
through the air like a frightened dove,

and your pale, forgetful bones have fallen
into fine dry grit.  In my relentless arms

you will learn to surrender all fears, all
your dark secrets.  Forever and ever

will I love you.  Is it any wonder we dream
of her so often, with such helpless longing?

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